If you have any further enquiries, please email Miss Siobhan Fenner, Head of Physics, at


What is AS and A Level Physics?

The dictionary definition of Physics is the study of matter and energy. It seeks to find the hidden laws behind physical phenomena. In practice it means you will study a range of topics from the very small - inside the atom, to the very large - the formation and history of stars and the universe. Some of the topics you will have studied at GCSE, such as electricity and magnetism, radioactivity and Newton’s laws of motion. You will also study new topics such as quantum mechanics, capacitance, stationary waves and thermodynamics.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

At both AS Level and A Level the exams are externally assessed with exams in May/June. You will also complete a series of practical work throughout both years in order to achieve your Science practical endorsement. We follow the Edexcel Physics 2015 Scheme of Work.

How will I learn?

You will have 4 one-hour periods on your Year 12 timetable each week, leading to 5 one-hour periods in Year 13. You will be taught by a two of the specialist Physics teachers at the school. You will gain a knowledge and understanding of the subject through a wide range of methods, including demonstrations, practical work, computer animations & simulations. As with any A Level subject at Salesian College, you will spend around 4 hours per week on private study. In Physics this will include working through problem questions, past-paper questions, conducting research and producing experiment reports.

You will be issued with textbooks specifically written for the course. Background reading is an essential part of A Level study and many students choose to subscribe to Physics Review magazine. Revision guides are also available. You may also have the opportunity to visit UKAEA Culham JET Fusion research facility near Abingdon, CERN in Geneva, Switzerland and attend Physics lectures at local universities.

What could I go on to do?

Physics leads on to a wide range of courses and careers. You could go on to use Physics to support degree courses in Physics, Engineering, Computing, Mathematics, Architecture and Medicine, amongst others. Physics is currently the most desired degree qualification by a wide range of employers in the UK.

What do I need to do to study Physics at A Level?

It is recommended that you have gained at least grade 6 in GCSE Physics or Double Science and a grade 6 in Maths. Although not essential, most Physics students will take Maths A Level. Students who do not take Maths find AS and in particular A Level Physics quite difficult.

In common with all subjects at A Level, there is a significant leap in the intellectual demands and expectations made on you as you progress from GCSE to AS Level, and from AS to A Level. This is particularly true in Physics where the use of Maths increases. You will succeed if you are prepared to work consistently and give your studies the time and energy they require.

In Summary...

Physics develops your intellectual, logical, numerical, practical and problem-solving skills to meet the needs of many future employers from the scientific to the financial world. If you are interested to know what the Universe is made of and how it works through various laws of nature then Physics is for you!